Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar
Although not for everyone, for me a must do experience in Istanbul is a visit to the awe inspiring Grand Bazaar. Even if you do not like shopping the experience is spectacular with colour everywhere you look.
It is best to keep your wits about you, as I said, it’s not for everyone. Like a lot of busy places there are swindlers and thieves about. True, it is hectic with pick pockets around, and recommend you keep your wits about you as you barter for a bargain or all the fast talk could lead to strife.
The extravagant covered market includes a maze of dazzling shops displaying rugs, jewellery, handmade pottery, clothing, spices and more.
Overall it is amazing just wandering through the alleys, soaking up the aroma from the spices, absorbed in the haggling. I loved watching the sellers interacting and striking up a deal, often sealing the deal with apple tea.
This place is massive and it is easy to get lost if you don’t keep the direction of one of the exits in mind. There are hundreds of different stores. Shops and cafes selling jewellery, coloured glass lanterns, bright colourful ceramics and shop after shop of shiny baubles and trinkets.
Take the time to absorb the fragrance of spices like apple tea, orange tea, jasmine tea and more. The aromas from the spice stalls will tease your nostrils.
The Bazaar is bustling with activity with hordes of people and the strong scent of Turkish coffee. The massive market has marble drink fountains, impressive tilework and pushy salesmen. The lamp shops are colourful and bright and many of the jewellery shops sell Nazar bonuk or the evil eye charms, said to ward off evil spirits.
On sale are silk scarves, saffron spice, Baklava, Turkish tea, Turkish tea sets with tiny matching spoons and of course mandatory Turkish delight which will be wrapped up tight to stay fresh until you return home.
We didn’t need to shop, we just wanted the experience of wandering, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of this colourful maze, but couldn’t resist just one evil eye charm as our Turkish souvenir.
We were in Istanbul as part of our Grand Mediterranean cruise. Have you been to the Grand Bazaar? Did you make it out without a purchase?
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